Washington Nationals: 5 to watch versus the Milwaukee Brewers

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 22: Bryce Harper
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 22: Bryce Harper /
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The second start of Edwin Jackson’s latest tour with the Nats is big.

He dazzled last Tuesday in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. Jackson scattered two runs and three hits over seven innings in his first appearance with Washington since 2012.

When his contract was purchased from Syracuse, the thought was Jackson would start a few games until Erick Fedde was ready for the majors. With Joe Ross out the rest of this season, this was a way to fill a few starts in preparation of the playoffs.

That dynamic changed with Stephen Strasburg’s Sunday injury. Although the severity of Strasburg’s latest trouble is a mystery, if it knocks him out for a chunk of time then Jackson becomes more than a token fifth starter. He faces the possibility of starting Game 4 of the NLDS.

Considering any Game 4 of a best-of-five is a clincher, the Nats must ensure Jackson is the right guy for the job.

A bad start Tuesday means little, but a few wobbly ones in a row do. If Strasburg’s forearm is okay, then Washington will wait for Fedde. If not, expect them to make an August deal to shore up the back end of the rotation.

Jackson’s time in Syracuse after his release from the Baltimore Orioles was productive. After an encouraging first start, he is well on the way to a solid finish to his season.